Traveling abroad can be an exciting and fulfilling experience for people of all ages. Nevertheless, it can also present special problems if you are in need of medical care while away from home. For some people, such health care expenses are covered by their primary health insurance company while for others; it’s not. For those in the latter group there are quite a few insurance companies around the nation offering temporary international travel health insurance policies at an affordable price.
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The U.S. Department of State publishes travel tips and warnings for American citizens planning to go overseas. Among the list of tips that all international travelers should follow is the need for international health insurance. They suggest each traveler first check with his primary health insurance company to see what is covered during overseas travel. If your insurance company does not provide adequate coverage, the government suggests you consider purchasing supplemental insurance.
What does international travel health insurance cover?
It is difficult to pinpoint specifics regarding the coverage provided by international travel health insurance policies because they’re all so different. As a general rule however, the minimum coverage most of these policies offer would consist of emergency medical care. Examples of this would be:
- Treatment of a broken bone
- Hospitalization required after a traffic accident
- Treatment for food poisoning
Such emergency procedures are considered standard care regardless of where you might travel.
If you need a long-term care after an accident, which requires you stay in a foreign country for several months, which may be another ballgame entirely. The most basic travel health insurance policies may cover long-term care only up to a certain point; some it may not cover it at all. That’s why it’s extremely important to read policy documents carefully so that you know exactly what you’re getting before you agree to purchase a policy. Furthermore, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask all sorts of questions of the representative selling you the policy.
If you are one of the millions enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid you will definitely need to purchase supplemental insurance. According to the State Department, Medicare and Medicaid only cover the costs of U.S.-based care.
How much does an international travel health insurance policy cost?
Pinpointing the cost of international travel health insurance is almost as difficult as pinpointing the coverage. Because travel is so personalized, insurance companies have to make accommodations according to:
- The length of travel
- The age of the insured
- Total coverage and deductible amounts
We did a little research for the purposes of this article and discovered average rates weren’t bad. For a healthy, 60-year-old male looking for $1 million in coverage, we found an average price of approximately $5 per day. The same coverage for a healthy 18-year-old came in at about $1.40 per day.
You can purchase your travel insurance on a per-day or monthly basis. Many insurance companies have a minimum five-day requirement and a maximum policy life of two or three years. Your price will vary based on the total number of days you’ll be covered and the amount of deductible you’re willing to pay. Yet even at $5 per day, the cost of international travel health insurance is not too bad when you consider how much you could pay in out-of-pocket medical expenses without it.
Where can I purchase international travel health insurance?
Before you purchase a policy, you should check with any credit card companies whose cards you carry in your wallet. For many of the higher-end cards, international travel health insurance is included as one of the perks. You might also check with your auto insurance company as well. Although it’s not extremely common, some auto insurance companies do provide international travel health insurance as one of the perks of doing business with them. Finally, check with your homeowner’s policy to see if it has a travel health insurance option.
If all three sources of prove unfruitful, you can find international travel health insurance online by doing a basic search. There are hundreds of companies all across America offering this type of insurance. There are even comparison websites that allow you to set the parameters of your travel and then browse the results calculated by the search engine. Just like getting auto insurance or a standard health care policy, the Internet offers you unlimited possibilities.
Just in case you are thinking of traveling internationally without health insurance, you should probably rethink that strategy. Whether we like it or not, accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere in the world, even on our vacations. If your standard health insurance policy does not cover medical costs you might incur abroad, you should definitely purchase a temporary international travel health insurance policy.
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